The zoo said the paddocks would improve animal welfare and attract more visitors but a local civic society said it had reservations about them featuring African huts
Animals including Pygmy Goats and Cameroon Sheep are set to be housed in three new themed paddocks at Sewerby Hall’s zoo after councillors gave plans the green light.
East Riding Council’s Eastern Area Planning Sub-Committee approved plans to create the African Farm, South American Plains and Shetland Isles themed paddocks in the grounds of the site’s zoo. Plans from the council-owned attraction stated the new paddocks would attract more visitors and help improve animal welfare as existing spaces get waterlogged and harbour parasites harming animals’ health.
But the council’s conservation officer raised concerns about the effects on nearby listed buildings and a local civic society said it had reservations about African-style huts planned in the paddocks. Planning documents showed the three paddocks would be built between High Sewerby Road and Church Lane, north west of existing animal enclosures off the attraction’s access road.
The zoo hopes to put on new activities including alpaca walks, llama trekking and chances for visitors to groom a Shetland pony. The paddocks will include field shelters and hay stores and be surrounded by 1.2m-high timber fence.
Documents stated the new areas were needed because there was no spare grazing space currently in the zoo. They added they could boost visitor numbers which would in turn help the local economy through more spending at cafes, shops and hotels.
Documents stated: “This is turn creates additional costs for feeding the animals through hay and additional concentrate feed. During the Autumn and Winter months and during periods of heavy rainfall, the paddocks and enclosures become waterlogged and extremely muddy which is dangerous for the animals.
“Poor ground conditions can lead to hoof problems such as Foot Rot which can be painful for the animal, costly when vets are involved and timely for the keepers to attend to. When the animals are left to graze on the same ground for any period of time, there is a build-up of parasites.
“The additional paddocks will allow the animals to be rotated with one paddock allowed to rest. Each paddock will house animals from the themed areas with detailed information, facts, conservation status and an informative QR code with a detailed keeper talk.”
Bridlington Civic Society said in its comments that while it did not object to the plans, it was unsure about plans for the African huts. They stated: “The reaction we’ve had is that this is East Yorkshire, not East Africa.